mod_auth_anon - Apache HTTP Server
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Apache Module mod_auth_anon

Description:Allows "anonymous" user access to authenticated areas
Status:Extension
Module Identifier:auth_anon_module
Source File:mod_auth_anon.c
Compatibility:Available only in versions prior to 2.1

Summary

This module does access control in a manner similar to anonymous-ftp sites; i.e. have a 'magic' user id 'anonymous' and the email address as a password. These email addresses can be logged.

Combined with other (database) access control methods, this allows for effective user tracking and customization according to a user profile while still keeping the site open for 'unregistered' users. One advantage of using Auth-based user tracking is that, unlike magic-cookies and funny URL pre/postfixes, it is completely browser independent and it allows users to share URLs.

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Example

The example below (when combined with the Auth directives of a htpasswd-file based (or GDM, mSQL etc.) base access control system allows users in as 'guests' with the following properties:

  • It insists that the user enters a userID. (Anonymous_NoUserID)
  • It insists that the user enters a password. (Anonymous_MustGiveEmail)
  • The password entered must be a valid email address, ie. contain at least one '@' and a '.'. (Anonymous_VerifyEmail)
  • The userID must be one of anonymous guest www test welcome and comparison is not case sensitive. (Anonymous)
  • And the Email addresses entered in the passwd field are logged to the error log file. (Anonymous_LogEmail)

Excerpt of httpd.conf:

Anonymous_NoUserID off
Anonymous_MustGiveEmail on
Anonymous_VerifyEmail on
Anonymous_LogEmail on
Anonymous anonymous guest www test welcome

AuthName "Use 'anonymous' & Email address for guest entry"
AuthType basic

# An AuthUserFile/AuthDBUserFile/AuthDBMUserFile
# directive must be specified, or use
# Anonymous_Authoritative for public access.
# In the .htaccess for the public directory, add:
<Files *>
Order Deny,Allow
Allow from all

Require valid-user
</Files>

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Anonymous Directive

Description:Specifies userIDs that are allowed access without password verification
Syntax:Anonymous user [user] ...
Context:directory, .htaccess
Override:AuthConfig
Status:Extension
Module:mod_auth_anon

A list of one or more 'magic' userIDs which are allowed access without password verification. The userIDs are space separated. It is possible to use the ' and " quotes to allow a space in a userID as well as the \ escape character.

Please note that the comparison is case-IN-sensitive.
I strongly suggest that the magic username 'anonymous' is always one of the allowed userIDs.

Example:

Anonymous anonymous "Not Registered" "I don't know"

This would allow the user to enter without password verification by using the userIDs "anonymous", "AnonyMous", "Not Registered" and "I Don't Know".

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Anonymous_Authoritative Directive

Description:Configures if authorization will fall-through to other methods
Syntax:Anonymous_Authoritative On|Off
Default:Anonymous_Authoritative Off
Context:directory, .htaccess
Override:AuthConfig
Status:Extension
Module:mod_auth_anon

When set On, there is no fall-through to other authentication methods. So if a userID does not match the values specified in the Anonymous directive, access is denied.

Be sure you know what you are doing when you decide to switch it on. And remember that the order in which the Authentication modules are queried is defined in the modules.c files at compile time.

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Anonymous_LogEmail Directive

Description:Sets whether the password entered will be logged in the error log
Syntax:Anonymous_LogEmail On|Off
Default:Anonymous_LogEmail On
Context:directory, .htaccess
Override:AuthConfig
Status:Extension
Module:mod_auth_anon

When set On, the default, the 'password' entered (which hopefully contains a sensible email address) is logged in the error log.

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Anonymous_MustGiveEmail Directive

Description:Specifies whether blank passwords are allowed
Syntax:Anonymous_MustGiveEmail On|Off
Default:Anonymous_MustGiveEmail On
Context:directory, .htaccess
Override:AuthConfig
Status:Extension
Module:mod_auth_anon

Specifies whether the user must specify an email address as the password. This prohibits blank passwords.

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Anonymous_NoUserID Directive

Description:Sets whether the userID field may be empty
Syntax:Anonymous_NoUserID On|Off
Default:Anonymous_NoUserID Off
Context:directory, .htaccess
Override:AuthConfig
Status:Extension
Module:mod_auth_anon

When set On, users can leave the userID (and perhaps the password field) empty. This can be very convenient for MS-Explorer users who can just hit return or click directly on the OK button; which seems a natural reaction.

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Anonymous_VerifyEmail Directive

Description:Sets whether to check the password field for a correctly formatted email address
Syntax:Anonymous_VerifyEmail On|Off
Default:Anonymous_VerifyEmail Off
Context:directory, .htaccess
Override:AuthConfig
Status:Extension
Module:mod_auth_anon

When set On the 'password' entered is checked for at least one '@' and a '.' to encourage users to enter valid email addresses (see the above Anonymous_LogEmail).

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